Sam Rockwell Poster


Jump to: Overview (3)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Trade Mark (7)  | Trivia (22)  | Personal Quotes (29)

Overview (3)

Born in Daly City, California, USA
Birth NameSam Rockwell
Height 5' 8" (1.73 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Sam Rockwell was born on November 5, 1968, in San Mateo, California, the only child of two actors, Pete Rockwell and Penny Hess. The family moved to New York when he was two years old, living first in the Bronx and later in Manhattan. When Sam was five years old, his parents separated, at which point he and his father moved to San Francisco, where he subsequently grew up, while summers and other times were spent with his mother in New York.

He made his acting debut when he was ten years old, alongside his mother, and later attended J Eugene McAteer High School in a program called SOTA. While still in high school, he got his first big break when he appeared in the independent film Clownhouse (1989). The plot revolved around three escaped mental patients who dressed up as clowns and terrorized three brothers home alone--Sam played the eldest of the brothers. His next big break was supposed to have come when he was slated to star in a short-lived NBC TV-series called Dream Street (1989), but he was soon fired.

After graduating from high school, Sam returned to New York for good and for two years he had private training at the William Esper Acting Studio. During this period he appeared in a variety of roles, such as the ABC Afterschool Specials (1972): Over the Limit (1990) (TV) and HBO's Lifestories: Families in Crisis (1992): Dead Drunk: The Kevin Tunell Story (Season 1 Episode 7: 15 March 1993); the head thug in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990); and a guest-star turn in an Emmy Award-winning episode of Law & Order (1990), while working a string of regular day jobs and performing in plays.

In 1994, a Miller Ice beer commercial finally enabled him to quit his other jobs to concentrate on his acting career, which culminated in him having five movies out by 1996: Basquiat (1996); The Search for One-eye Jimmy (1994); Glory Daze (1995); Mercy (1995); and Box of Moonlight (1996). It was the latter film that would prove to be his real break-out in the industry. In Tom DiCillo's film, he found himself playing an eccentric named the Kid, a man-child living in a half-built mobile home in the middle of nowhere with a penchant for dressing like Davy Crockett, who manages to bring some much-needed chaos into the life of an electrical engineer played by John Turturro. The movie was not a box-office success, but it managed to generate a great deal of critical acclaim for itself and Sam.

In 1997, he found himself the star of another critically lauded film, Lawn Dogs (1997). Once again, he portrayed a societal outcast as Trent, a working-class man living in a trailer, earning a living mowing lawns inside a wealthy, gated Kentucky community. Trent soon finds himself befriended by 10-year-old Devon (Mischa Barton), and the movie deals with the difficulties in their friendship and the outside world. He also gave strong performances in the quirky independent comedy Safe Men (1998), in which he plays one half of a pretty awful singing duo (the other half being played by Steve Zahn) that gets mistaken for two safecrackers by Jewish gangsters; and the offbeat hitman trainee in Jerry and Tom (1998) against Joe Mantegna.

After a few smaller appearances in films such as Woody Allen's Celebrity (1998) and the modern version of A Midsummer Night's Dream (1999), in which he played Francis Flute, he had larger roles in two of the bigger hit movies to emerge: The Green Mile (1999) and Galaxy Quest (1999), wowing audiences and critics alike with his chameleon-like performances as a crazed killer in the former and a goofy actor in the latter.

More recently, he appeared in another string of mainstream films, most notably as Eric Knox in Charlie's Angels (2000) and as Zaphod Beeblebrox in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2005), while continuing to perform in smaller independent movies. After more than ten years in the business, Sam has earned his success. In 2018, he won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor as a troubled police deputy in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017).

- IMDb Mini Biography By: van_whistler@hotmail.co.uk, Zapti

Trade Mark (7)

Often plays characters from small towns and/or with simple backgrounds
Frequently plays sleazy and immoral characters
Uses a particular gait or movement with all his characters.
Mellow drawling voice
Roles in low-budget independent films
Muscular legs
Often wears Hawaiian shirts

Trivia (22)

Told Carson Daly in a talk-show appearance that he dropped out of G.I. Jane (1997) because he didn't want to get cold filming the night time SCUBA scenes.
Filmed his scenes for Jarhead (2005) in one day. His scenes were later deleted.
To memorize lines, he says he dictates them into a tape recorder in a monotone, so he won't get used to any inflection before he's had a chance to consider which speech pattern would be appropriate for the character.
Had a minor appearance in Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988) but his role was removed from the final cut. The scene was the one of the "lover's lane" of sorts, when the Terenzi brothers drive up in their ice cream truck.
Close friends with actor Justin Long and Jonathan Togo.
Is an only child of actor Pete Rockwell and Penny Hess.
Parents separated when he was 5 years old.
Improvised most of his lines in Made (2001).
Friends with Laurel Holloman. Cousin of Aaron Rockwell.
Boyfriend of Leslie Bibb. Ex-boyfriend of Sarita Choudhury.
Has English, German, Irish, and distant Dutch, ancestry.
Attended high school in San Francisco with Margaret Cho and Aisha Tyler.
Friends with (but not related to) director Alexandre Rockwell and has appeared in four of his films: In the Soup (1992), Louis & Frank (1998), Somebody to Love (1994) and 13 Moons (2002).
As of 2019, has been in 4 films that were Oscar nominated for Best Picture: The Green Mile (1999), Frost/Nixon (2008), Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017), Vice (2018), and Jojo Rabbit (2019).
His maternal grandmother, Betty J. (Moore) Davis (1917-2007), was a drama teacher. She had acted in plays, lived in The Gestalt Fool theatre commune in San Francisco, and was an adjunct lecturer of Speech Communication at LaGuardia Community.
Is one of 13 actors to win the Academy Award, BAFTA Award, Critics' Choice Award, Golden Globe Award and SAG Award for the same performance. The others in chronological order are: Geoffrey Rush for Shine (1996), Jamie Foxx for Ray (2004), Philip Seymour Hoffman for Capote (2005), Forest Whitaker for The Last King of Scotland (2006), Javier Bardem for No Country for Old Men (2007), Daniel Day-Lewis for There Will Be Blood (2007) and Lincoln (2012), Heath Ledger for The Dark Knight (2008), Christoph Waltz for Inglourious Basterds (2009), Christopher Plummer for Beginners (2010), J.K. Simmons for Whiplash (2014), Leonardo DiCaprio for The Revenant (2015), and Gary Oldman for Darkest Hour (2017).
Has based his portrayal in Galaxy Quest (1999) on Bill Paxton's performance in James Cameron's classic Aliens (1986). In particular, his hysterical fear of being killed, and his mental collapse upon seeing a motion detector that shows their enemy closing in on them.
Nominated for the 2019 Golden Globe Award in the Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in any Motion Picture category for his role as George W. Bush in Vice (2018), but lost to Mahershala Ali for Green Book (2018).
Nominated for a 2019 Academy Award in the Best Supporting Actor category for his role as George W. Bush in Vice (2018) but lost to Mahershala Ali for Green Book (2018).
In a long-term relationship with Leslie Bibb since 2007.
Was one of the two choices that Duncan Jones had for the part of Sam Bell in his directorial debut Moon (2009) . His original choice was Paddy Considine and Rockwell was his second. Considine turned down the role and Rockwell was ultimately cast. Rockwell is a big fan of Considine and in particular of his work with director Shane Meadows in A Room for Romeo Brass (1999) and Dead Man's Shoes (2004).
Worked as a bicycle delivery boy for a Mexican restaurant specializing in burritos.

Personal Quotes (29)

Sarita (Sarita Choudhury) was the one that got away. She was amazing, really amazing. I loved Sarita. She was my pal.
[on his role in Galaxy Quest (1999)]: That part is kind of an homage to Bill Paxton in Aliens (1986). I definitely stole some moves from my buddy [actor] Steve Zahn and Bill Murray's lounge singer character from Saturday Night Live (1975) is in there somewhere. Plus a little Michael Keaton in Night Shift (1982) and definitely some Richard Pryor. I get a lot from Richard Pryor actually. How agile he is, vulnerable.
I really believe that people like Bill Murray or John Belushi are just as great and just as valid as Robert De Niro or Al Pacino. And I don't think you can say One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) is a better movie than National Lampoon's Animal House (1978); they're different genres. I think they're both examples of great craftsmanship.
I have a constant sort of melancholy approach to acting that fuels me. I want to do everything.
[Recalling a period he went through when he was 18]: I watched Raging Bull (1980) like 50 times. I wanted to be Italian. For a year I was Italian; that's all I did. I could do all that New York street stuff to the point where I would get feedback from my auditions, "He's too New York, he's too urban" and I was from San Francisco, really.
[on what he would do if he wasn't an actor]: I have no skills. There's absolutely nothing I know how to do. So I'd be fucked otherwise. I'm very fortunate to be an actor. I know I'm very lucky to be doing this. And though I'm not sure where I'm going to end up -- whether it's in major films, independents, or theater work -- I'm just happy getting to do roles that are really juicy, meaningful and allow me to keep adventuring the way I have been.
[on his role in The Green Mile (1999)]: I guess Wild Bill is a disgusting, racist, pedophile freak. But I'd been wanting to play a psycho, a juicy one. I saw him as Huck Finn meets Satan. The kind of part Gary Oldman or John Malkovich might play. It's just a cool part.
I've been in more than 20 movies. You just do the best you can and try to make a living. Whether it's The Green Mile (1999), Galaxy Quest (1999) or Lawn Dogs (1997). There's no difference, not for me.
I want to be a character actor, but I also want to make some money. Money is power and power gives you choice.
I think of myself as a journeyman actor. I've got some talent and I work hard, but people like Brando or Pacino-those people are touched by God.
I've played so many hicks and country bumpkins. It's hilarious, because I've always lived in cities. I feel a little strange all the time, a little bit off-center. I never feel that people are as nutty as me.
[2002 Quote]: I'm originally from San Francisco. I might move there some day. But, I like LA, I have fun in LA. It's a fun town if you've got money in your pocket. It's a good town.
[on why he was fired from G.I. Jane (1997)]: I gave them no alternative, because I didn't want to learn how to scuba dive. I wouldn't mind learning in the Bahamas, but I didn't want to learn at three o'clock in the morning.
Safe Men (1998) was exhausting, although I had a great time on it. I have a special place in my heart for Safe Men. That was a true independent film, in a budget sense. There were no trailers. Steve [Steve Zahn] and I were hanging out. It was guerrilla filmmaking. But we had a blast. And such good actors. For such a low budget, we had top rate actors, Michael Lerner, Harvey Fierstein. Steve Zahn, by far, one of the best actors I have ever worked with. He is a truly gifted actor. Skilled. He comes from the stage, he's from ART (American Repertory Theater). He's a farm boy turned theater actor, turned film actor. He builds barns and hunts deer and drinks beer and drives a Chevy Nova. He's a man, he's a real man.
I really want to work with Gary Oldman. I want to play his brother or something. Or have him direct me or I just want to get inside that guy's head, you know and I know, I just feel that I know the guy even though I don't know him. I feel like I know him. If he reads this, it's going to freak him out, he's gonna want to stay away from me, "Oh, Jees, this guy's a psycho!" I love his ballsiness. Whether you agree with his choices or not, the guy's got 'cajones' -- he's got balls. And you know, he goes for it. I just think he's great.
[1999 Quote]: I'd like to be an action hero, but I don't think they would ever make me that type of leading man. I'm too quirky. If they put me in Speed 3, two days later they would go, "Yep, we're gonna have to fire him now. Can we get someone more mainstream?" I like to make weird choices. If you watch Paul Newman, or even Cary Grant, they weren't always thinking good things. Who knows what the hell Cary Grant was thinking? He could be smiling at a woman and having some really dirty, nasty thoughts. That's what made them interesting leading men.
[1998 Quote]: I just see myself as a character actor. I'd like to be a star in the same way as Gary Oldman or John Malkovich are famous, who get to do character pieces and not act like movie stars.
I've seen a lot of people change into double-glazed celebrities. Sudden fame is a really hard test of character. I wouldn't want to be Leonardo DiCaprio, much as I like him, because it can't be good for you at that age. I actually think that no-one should be allowed to be famous until they're 30.
I do prefer theater. The whole process of film is just so tedious. You're there for 18 hours a day, there's so much idle time. You just burn out. Also, there isn't the camaraderie you get in the theater. Stage is where it really happens for an actor because it makes full use of whatever you have to give.
I prefer film over television. I don't prefer film over theater. With television, there's less time to shoot and everything is rushed. You have too many hands and cooks. There's the network and the producer and the writers. Too many people getting involved and stirring the mix. It doesn't make for good art.
When I took acting classes and being drunk was the assigned impediment of the day, a lot of people would go out the night before and get drunk. That's not research! Research is going to bar... and drinking coffee.
I did the odd bit of theater from the age of ten, but I spent most of my time doing the usual teenage things - you know, thinking I was black, trying to break dance and smoking a lot of dope.
After a while, you stop thinking that the film you're in is going to be your big break. I mean, I was sure that the television show I did in 1989 was going to make me.
I worked in a lot of restaurants. Busing, mostly. I was a food runner. I was an extra on soap operas. An extra on commercials. Typical actor, huh? I delivered burritos by bicycle. All that stuff. My last real job was delivering food for this trendy restaurant. That sucked. Jobs suck! I hate jobs. This is better. I've got to remind myself, because I get bitchy sometimes. It could be a lot worse.
God, I hate LA. It's an evil place. So uncreative. You can't walk anywhere, that's what really gets me. I lived there for eight months. It's something that you've really got to do when you're starting out. You join the scrum of pilot season. Even as an unknown, you can make the most phenomenal amount of money. But it's so awful. You go in to a room with 20 network executives, who are all holding popcorn and they watch your screen test in total silence. Not even a chuckle. It's all very businesslike.
I definitely don't want to become a parent. It's not my bag. - Interview with Chrissy Iley, November 11, 2007.
[on the death of his Louis & Frank (1998) co-star Tony Curtis] The guy was such a sweetheart. Beautifully neurotic, in a very endearing, kind of Woody Allen way.
[to Christopher Walken] Your accent is very particular. It's like, you start with a guy who doesn't use punctuation: he's got the sense of humor of Jackie Mason but he does Shakespeare. So you mix these all together and you get Chris. And he's from Queens!
[meeting friend Jeremy Renner for the first time] He was at a bar in Calgary, kind of crouched over a whiskey He had this sort of West Coast machismo, an old-school Steve McQueen thing. It's cool to have guys like that in the movie business, because they're not around much anymore. Renner's good on a motorcycle, he's good on a horse, he can drive a car. He's just a dude.

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